I am Allegheny by Melanie Karsak

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Since Samhain is the season wherein the words are thin, the ancestors spirits walk alongside ours, I thought this was a fitting time to share this very old piece I wrote about my home along the Allegheny river.

I Am Allegheny
Melanie Karsak

The Allegheny is the blood in my veins.  Silvery water snakes along bends and narrows, feeding my ever-beating heart, an island in the river’s deepest regions.  But piercing eyes will stab this silver sheen and find the secret tale below.  The water is murky brown.  Loamy substances drift feathery just under the obsidian surface.  In its deepest regions it is green and dotted with sinkholes that embrace and do not let go. Mayflies dance over the surface leaving white bubbles behind.  Wide-mouths leap from below, snapping then retreating once more into the depths.  Slanting sun peeks through cattails at the water’s edge to reveal an opalescent treasure trove: clam shells dot the river bottom.  Their jewels grace my earlobes and neck.  The sound of my blood is silent save the whirl of the fisherman’s reel sending out its cast.  The bobber breaks the surface with a deep ‘glumb’ hinting at my depths. 
            My shape is defined by the river banks, rounded foot-hills, my breasts, which curve toward the shadowed glen.  Hidden glades hide mushroomed faerie rings, and ferns secret-away the mysteries of life within their folds.  The leafy canopy, highlighted by bright sunlight, is my hair.  The wind rolls unobstructed over corn-fields until it meets the tree-line, tangling Ash and Oak, Willow and Pine.  They moan when the forest is most silent.
            Below, my body, the earthen floor, effervesces with the smell of decaying leaves.  Limestone adds a gritty surface.  Beds of pink Pine needles lend a softness that is easy to touch.  Sharp and brittle, Pine cones are my nails and teeth.
            My soul is in the wind.  It is the shrill cry of the hawk overhead, the alarmed snort of the white-tailed deer and its retreating hoof-beats, and the sound of the mountain borne tributaries, thick with minnows and salamanders, rolling over fossil rocks toward the river—the bay—the ocean. 
I am Allegheny a: river, mountains, forest.  Green.  Origin.  


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